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Pico Iyer “Autumn Light”

Pico Iyer “Autumn Light”

“I found that the best way that I could develop more attentive and more appreciative eyes was, oddly, by going nowhere, just by sitting still”.

This sentence I came across while listening to Ted talks two years ago still sticks in my mind. I’ve since been a huge fan of Pico Iyer, who is a philosopher and travel writer based in Nara (the ancient capital), Japan.

This book is sort of a memoir of his life with his wife Hiroko in Japan. How he came to live in Japan was based on sheer chance. He happened to land in Narita when he was on his way to somewhere else. Shortly, he decided to live in Japan and has since lived in Nara for almost 30 years.

In this book, the life in Nara with Hiroko unfolds itself, interspersed with him playing ping-pong with senior people in the local community, his father-in-law’s death, reflections on Ozu’s films, and his acute observations of life.

His notions of life seem to resonate with Japan’s transient and ephemeral nature. He embraces every moment of life he’s living in.

“Now I see it’s in the spaces where nothing is happening that one has to make a living”.
“What happens is not so visible. It’s hard to see which parts are important until years later.”

Like Ozu’s movies, nothing dramatic probably happens in life. However, every moment of life could be something precious afterwards.

“Hold this moment forever, I tell myself; it may never come again”

This is how this book ends.

Carpe Diem. Autumn light is ubiquitous in this book.


紀行作家でもあり、哲学者でもあるPico Iyerの最新刊である。授業で彼のTED Talksを使用してからたちまちファンになってしまった。日本人女性と結婚し、奈良に住んで30年という。ダライ・ラマの随行者にも指名されるほどの日本通である。




Pico Iyer氏はTEDで3度登場しています。どれも素晴らしい内容です。まだご覧になっていない方には、強くお勧めします!

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